Saturday, August 27, 2016

Scientists Who Study the Distribution of Warrior Genes in Different Ethnic Groups Contradict Stefan Molyneux Directly

Stuart K. Hayashi

Recall from my prior post that Stefan Molyneux proclaims (1) that race-related genetics causes blacks and Hispanics to be congenitally more violent than whites and Asians, (2) race-related genetics causes Asians to be the least violent ethnic group, and (3) that the "warrior gene" (MAOA-L) occurs more frequently in blacks than any other group, causing blacks to be the most violent.

Say to the black families, 'Look, when you abuse your children [he considers all corporal punishment, such as spanking, to be domestic abuse], you are setting events in motion -- if they have this genetic susceptibility [to violence, due to the 'warrior gene'] , when you look at these ratios, it's huge -- you are setting events in motion that are going to result in increased criminality, in your population.' You already have higher testosterone according to many measures. If you have this genetic susceptibility to being triggered by [parental] violence into becoming a violent person... You know, maltreat an Asian child-- I don't know -- what do you get? I don't know -- a great pianist? I don't know. Maltreat a Caucasian kid -- I don't know -- you get some Goth. But maltreat a black kid, and the prevalence of this 'warrior gene' sequence -- particularly this 2-repeat -- and you're going to get a very different kind of person. 

Well, occurrence of the warrior gene does vary from one ethnic group to another, but not in the way that Stefan Molyneux said: "Lea and Chambers reported that MAOA-L was less common among Caucasians (34 percent) and Hispanics (29 percent) but even more common among Africans (59 percent) and Chinese (77 percent)."  (The PDF of the paper is here.)

Seconds later in that same video, Molyneux said that 73 percent of Asian-Americans report spanking their children and 89 percent of black-American families report doing the same.  Again, Stefan Molyneux says that if you have the warrior gene and were spanked as a child, that will cause you to grow up to become a violent criminal.  If that were the case, then, by the very figures that Molyneux cited, that would mean that it is Asian-Americans who are most prone toward criminal violence.  That contradicts Molyneux's obsessive insistence that race-related genetics cause blacks and Hispanics to have the greatest tendency toward violent crime.  Also of note is that the ethnic category in which the warrior gene is least frequent is that of Hispanics.

Apologists might reply that Molyneux is attributing the tendency toward violent crime on the 2-repeat allele on the VNTR region of this gene, whereas the 3-repeat allele is the one most common in East Asians and least common in Hispanics.  However, the consensus among scientists who have studied this is that there is not a big distinction between those alleles when it comes to effects on human behavior.